Do you have a non-executive director, or have you ever considered it? There are many benefits to be gained if you have the right one. A good non-executive director will take on many different roles as your business develops.
In your start-up phase an external director could bring experience of your marketplace and contacts from within it. He or she should offer guidance and open doors for you. The non-exec might even help with opportunities for business, taking part in meetings and presentations. Acting as a mentor to you and other senior members of your team, your non-executive will attend meetings, give opinions and advice, and support whatever decisions you make.
How to Find the Right Non-executive
Advertisements for non-execs usually find plenty of applicants with a mix of motives. Putting such positions on a CV is always helpful to the career of an ambitious go-getter. You could even find an aspiring non-exec who will not require a fee initially, but you would still need to be sure they could bring what you need to your board meetings. It might be more advantageous, and more profitable in the long run, to pick someone with experience of the role who would expect some remuneration, but be able to bring you more benefits.
Before you start to weed them out, decide exactly what you are looking for in terms of the relationship. Look at its duration, how often you will meet during that time and what you expect to get from it. When you interview them, make all this clear, and don’t think of appointing anyone unless you are confident about what and who they know that can help you reach your business objectives. Be sure to discuss the financial aspects with your outsourced bookkeepers beforehand and be clear about what you can afford. Then you can have a maximum fee in mind and negotiate to no more than that.
Get the Most from the Relationship
Have an option of one-to-one meetings where you can review how things are going and speak frankly to one another. Regular debriefs can make sure you are both on the same wave length and neither of you are expecting too much of the other. The role of the non-exec should change along with your business development, and you both need to recognise the shifts and phases you need to go through. It’s a good idea to have these discussions before each board meeting so that you can plan strategies and iron out any problems. Speaking with the same voice at your board meetings can save valuable time and be reassuring to other board members.
Remember the advantages of a non-executive director when you are considering how to grow your business.